Temps in the 60’s with light cloud cover were the perfect ingredients for a hike in the woods. My dad and I decided to try out the Blair Ridge Trail in the Hercules Glades Wilderness Area near Bradleyville, MO today. The trail is rated moderate, but most of it is very easy with only about 400 feet of elevation change in route to the falls. The approximately six-mile, out and back trail varies from dirt, to gravel to larger rocks with some noticeable inclines and declines. We ran into a few downed trees, but overall the trail was in great condition. I definitely recommend shoes specifically designed for hiking or trail running, not sandals. The trail would be safe and do-able for children. Although it runs along the top of a ridge, the trail is never anywhere near a drop-off.
It is a multi-use trail, including horseback riding, so you do have to watch your step. Wilderness camping is allowed in the area. There are no amenities and you must pack in and pack out everything. Trail users out here have been really responsible, as the area was devoid of litter.
Due to significant drought conditions in the area, water was not running at the falls, but there was a small spring-fed lake and the large smooth rocks were a great place to sit and have lunch.
We were told that April is a great time to visit the area with the falls running and spring flowers along the trail. While flowing water would have definitely added to the beauty, I think fall has its own colorful charm.
If you are headed this way, let me give you some specific directions to finding the trailhead, that would have been helpful if we could have found these online prior to coming. The map we found was of limited help. GPS only got us so far, to the intersection of Cane Creek Road and Blair Ridge Road. From this intersection turn left (NE) and go about three miles on gravel. You will see the Ponderosa Ranch, which is private property and you will wonder if you have missed something. Keep going. You will see a small dirt area where you can park on the right side of the road and the trailhead (marked Hercules Glades Wilderness Area) on the left side of the road. I was only able to verify this was the correct trailhead after I opened the sign-in log. The trail itself was easy to follow, but not necessarily well-marked. Signage near the falls where three trails come together was visible, but were wooden, so they didn’t stand out much.
We had a little “wildlife fun.” I got a photo of this little guy in the dry falls area. We also saw a tarantula, squirrels, a deer, birds and several daddy long legs. We didn’t see the bears that the signs warned about or a mountain lion.
So, if you find yourself in Taney County and you want to find a place to hike for the day, the Blair Ridge Trail could be just what you’re looking for!
Is this your first time on my blog? Click the photo to read my intro post!